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Thomas Morgan of Keizer won the inaugural Oregon Civics Bee today and has earned the right to represent Oregon at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s National Civics Bee in Washington, D.C. Thomas was one of 19 finalists who participated in the Bee, which was moderated by Oregon Treasurer Tobias Read.

Presented by U.S. Bank and organized by Oregon Business and Industry in partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the competition began in November 2023. Sixth, 7th and 8th graders throughout Oregon were invited to submit essays explaining how they’d use civics principles to address problems they identified in their communities. A panel of judges chose the 20 best essays, whose writers were invited to participate in this week’s Civics Bee, which took place at Willamette University in Salem. One student could not attend because of sickness.

The Bee consisted of a quiz-style competition moderated by Treasurer Read. The top five scorers then made the case for their essays in front of a panel of judges, which included OBI President and CEO Angela Wilhelms, U.S. Bank Senior Vice President of Commercial Banking Steve Isaak and CFM Advocates Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Jessica Adamson. In his essay, Thomas made the case for public funding for Keizer’s community library.

The top three finishers in the inaugural Oregon Civics Bee received cash prizes. Grace Kim of Eugene was the runner-up, and Shivani Nirmal-Shankar of Sherwood finished third.

“My fellow judges and I congratulate Thomas for his thoughtful essay and performance today, and we believe he will represent Oregon well in Washington, D.C.,” said Wilhelms. “We’re also very proud of the rest of today’s finalists and all of the other middle-schoolers who submitted essays. We look forward to doing this again next year.”

The National Civics Bee will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 12.

The participants in the inaugural Oregon Civics Bee were:

  • Boston Bryant, Albany
  • Mattie Donahoe, Klamath Falls
  • Adam El-Tayib, Tualatin
  • Charlie Evers, Oregon City
  • Amelynn Goh, Portland
  • Dylan Guptill, Keizer
  • Nate Johnson, Sherwood
  • Callen Kelly, Sherwood
  • Grace Kim, Eugene
  • Linden Leonhardt-Bithell, Ashland
  • Vivien McQuisten, Bridgeport
  • Milah Moore, Salem
  • Thomas Morgan, Keizer
  • Shivani Nirmal-Shankar, Sherwood
  • Lily Pham, Happy Valley
  • Basel Saleh, Tigard
  • Shivani Vivek, Sherwood
  • Zackery Wells, Gervais
  • Eva Worden, Heppner
  • (OBI does not have permission to release the name of the last finalist.)
Thomas Morgan

Oregon Civics Bee winner Thomas Morgan, of Keizer, argued the case for public funding for the town’s community library.

Grace Kim

Oregon Civics Bee runner-up Grace Kim, of Eugene, argued in favor of increased taxes to build a tiny-home village for homeless people in the city.

Shivani Nirmal Shankar presenting

Oregon Civics Bee third-place finisher Shivani Nirmal-Shankar, of Sherwood, argued in favor of better street-lighting in areas outside of city downtowns.

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